Classroom/ Laboratory Activity: Statistical Methods Using Temperature Data

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A classroom/ laboratory activity titled, ‘US Historical Climate: Excel Statistical’ from Starting Point by R.M. MacKay, Clark College, USA, to calculate mean, variance, standard deviation, maximum, minimum, and trends estimates for historical temperature data.

This data is provided in an Excel spreadsheet in the activity. It also includes a PDF document with detailed instructions.  It further includes questions that you may wish to use in your classroom to explain statistical functions and methods and to initiate a discussion on the increase in average and mean temperature anomalies from 1895 to 1994.

Students will learn to use Excel for statistical calculations such as average, mean, variance and standard deviation. They will also learn the use of running mean filter and how to calculate statistical errors in a given data.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. Define the following:
    1. Standard Deviation
    2. Variance 
    3. Running Mean
    4. Statistical Error
  2. How do the anomaly variance and standard deviations compare with the temperature variance and standard deviation?
  3. Knowing that Winter solstice is December 21, what is the lag in months between minimum solar input and minimum temperature?

About the Tool

Tool NameUS Historical Climate: Excel Statistical
DisciplineMathematic and Statistics 
Topic(s) in DisciplineExcel Functions, Statistical Functions, Mean, Variance, Standard Deviation, Statistical errors, Running Mean
Climate TopicClimate and the Atmosphere, Climate Variability Record
Type of toolClassroom/Laboratory Activity
Grade LevelHigh School, Undergraduate
Developed byR.M. MacKay
Hosted atStarting Point: Teaching Entry Level Geoscience
AccessOnline, Offline
Computer SkillsBasic
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